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Traditional wood paneling smoothly stitches the areas in this Mumbai residence

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To make an apartment look spacious in a city like Mumbai is a critical task especially when the available space is restricted. Amalgamation of areas does help in increasing space but only to a certain extent. Smart use of materials, textures and colours can play a vital role in adding volume and depth to any house.

Using traditional materials in an unusual manner while combining them with select colours, Mumbai-based architect Neemesh Shah of KNS Architects has changed the ambience of this tight Lokhandwala apartment. The 1200 sq ft residence has been designed by merging two adjoining apartments that also lends a linear tone to the house. A living room, dining, kitchen, an entertainment area and two bedrooms complete this home for a family of five.

"Two one-bedroom apartments have been combined. Not only did that increase the area but helped us add an extra room that is now used as an entertainment area, study or a guest bedroom," says Shah.

As space was a constraint, storage was of utmost importance along with an understated decor. But the linear look that resulted from combining the apartments posed a restriction and the home did not appear as a singular unit. To combat areas from standing out as separate units without any connection Shah used wood panels in the ceilings of the living and dining areas as a combining element.

A large lotus motif by Sicis on one of the walls marks the entry to the living and the dining. The shimmering tiles in silver and black set the design tone for the rest of the house. The architect has used the same pattern for the flooring to maintain continuity.

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Shah has moulded this space to his advantage by designing the living room on one side and the dining on the opposite. The wooden panels in the ceiling seamlessly combine these two areas.

"Wood is a traditional material, but if used intelligently, it can alter the look of any space. We have used ebony wood for the panels in the ceiling that run through the living room as well as the dining that later come down as pillars making the whole area look as a singular space," says Shah.

The living room, in pastels, is a comfortable area with sofas and dim lighting. In order to keep the modern design tone, the architect has gone low on accessories. The extra space created in the living area has been utilised to create the entertainment room. Flexible doors by Hunter Douglas were attached to give more privacy to the area.

"Lighting plays a crucial role in the living areas. We have tried to use indirect lighting whenever possible to make the space look softer and warmer. Also, we have used different form of lighting that can be altered as per mood. LEDs, hidden in the wooden panels, add drama," says Shah.

The kitchen in black and grey, is a stark contrast to the lighter colour tone that has been maintained throughout the house. Here, the architect has introduced a concept of cantilevered storage that lends it a floating appearance.

"The bedrooms were smaller and thus we have not accessorised them heavily. As storage was a main concern, we focused our design to address that need only," says Shah. "The windows have been utilised to create seating space and the sliding wardrobes provide ample room."

As the bathrooms were small in size, the architect has not made many changes there and has incoporated only those ammenities which were of absolute necessity.

First published date: 16 July 2012

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Credit List

Architects Kanhai Gandhi, Neemesh Shah, Shresht Kashyap; KNS Architects Private Limited
Design team Neemesh Shah, Sachin Shah
Cladding Sicis
Window Dural
Flooring Italian marble
Wallcoverings Arte, Elemento, Trish
Paints ICA
Furniture Minorri, Poltrona Frau, Reflex, B&B Italia
Benchtops Blue Pearl
Splashback Steel Lite
Oven Siemens
Stove/hob Siemens
Ventilation GSM
Microwave Siemens
Refrigerator LG
Basin Toto
Taps Grohe
Shower Grohe
Hot water systems Stibel Eltron
Toilet Toto
Accessories Good Earth
Bedroom suite Foam Home
Bed linen Bharat Furnishings
Lighting Philips
Mirrors Saint Gobain